Haggen fires Central Coast employees with disabilities

July 29, 2015

Haggen 2Grocery chain Haggen fired developmentally disabled employees as part of its recent string of Central Coast layoffs, a Santa Barbara-based advocacy organization alleges. [KEYT]

Earlier this year, Haggen a Washington-based company purchased 146 Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions and Safeway stores, some of which are located on the Central Coast. As Haggen has taken over operation of the stores, it has laid off dozens of Central Coast workers and reduced the hours of other employees. The company also raised grocery prices.

PathPoint, a Santa Barbara-based organization that helps disabled people find work, announced Tuesday that 17 of the Central Coast workers Haggen laid off were developmentally disabled clerks. Haggen fired 14 developmentally disabled clerks in Santa Barbara County and three in San Luis Obispo County.

Additionally, two developmentally disabled clerks lost their jobs in Ventura County.

PathPoint helped place the workers in positions at Albertsons and Vons before Haggen took over the grocery stores. One of the developmentally disabled clerks who was fired had been at the job for 18 years.

The advocacy organization is now attempting to find jobs for the newly unemployed disabled workers. An agreement exists, though, between Haggen and Albertsons and Vons that employees must wait a year before they can leave the Washington chain for work with the other two supermarkets.

A local union has already filed several grievances over the layoffs and work reductions.

Haggen Pacific Southwest CEO Bill Shaner responded with a statement about recent firings.

“To ensure we’re operating as efficiently as possible, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily cut back on staffing at our stores, with specific reductions varying by store. We value the contributions these employees have made and are committed to treating all employees respectfully and professionally through this transition.”

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This is a very simple situation with an equally simple solution. Haggens is unwelcome, unfriendly place. Don’t go there. Period. I still have my Grover Beach and Nipomo Von’s and I like the gasoline credits. Now that Haggens ditched the small whole olives cans I have very little reason to go there. I also have Whole Foods, Hayashi’s vegetables, and the various farmers markets. Haggens can sit on their 2 year reserve, I can wait.

That is the best way to deal with any provider of goods or services. Don’t support them.

All this over small olives? I always wondered who buys small olives.

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Haggen…you could learn a lot from these simple, yet profound words. The people you let go are some of the most honest, sincere, hard working, loving individuals you will ever know.

Your callousness will come back to haunt you as you have let go the STRONGEST link in your struggling business…not the weakest.

Guess Haggen doesn’t adopt the government employment plan. “Increase the number of employees you have and keep everyone currently employed regardless if they can do the job, are qualified for the job, if you really need all those employees or if the company(government) can afford to keep paying all these employees”, Haggen must realize they can no just go into huge debt to support all these employees and push the costs off to the next several generations of taxpayers, all the time the pool of taxpayers keeps shrinking and those “just taking” keeps growing.

Well said.

I think someone really needs to look into whether it is an enforceable agreement regarding seeking employment with another grocer. It has always been my understanding that it is not legal to sign your rights away before you need them. I don’t see that Haggen’s has a leg to stand on if they try to derail alternative employment in the same industry after firing an employee.

Also heard from someone in corporate office that Haggen’s has enough reserves on hand to survive for two years even if no one walks into their stores. Pretty arrogant attitude. They don’t know the people on the Central Coast if they think that will fly.

Since we are organic, whole food, plant based aficionados we end up shopping at almost all the local stores (except Haggen’s). It strikes me that they are in collusion with pricing and inventory; they don’t all carry the same items and their prices alternate from high to low. Seems to be a system to make sure that no one who is able to shop for a particular lifestyle can shop in one store, but has to patronize all markets to get the best prices for the items to suit their needs. They all have their best interests in mind, not those of their customers.

Yea the employee thing is kinda screwy and haven’t seen before. I’ve seen in other ways.

When Scolari’s sold stores to (Lucky I believe) they signed an agreement not to compete in area for certain number of years, which they did. Makes since competition.

I have seen in corporate world when someone comes up with an idea that they sell to a company, they agree not to sell it to others for certain number or years. Again makes sense.

BUT to keep employees from going elsewhere? Above makes sense for financial reasons. So if a guy boxing groceries at one store goes to another, how is this going to really affect them??? Are they afraid they couldn’t replace or train another employee? Even though that doesn’t make sense, that would have to be only reason because nothing else does.

I think someone needs to contact the LABOR RELATIONS BOARD.

The Hag has not done anything they said they would do for the employees. to try to tell folks they can’t make a living doing what they know how to do is wrong.

These aren’t highly skilled employees with some sort of clearance, and jobs around here are hard enough to find.

I hope the full time clerks who are now working 24 hours go and apply for unemployment for the loss of hours. I am pretty sure they apply for it since it is nothing they did wrong. It won’t be a lot but it might help keep them in their apartment or keep gas in the car.

The Hag might have reserves for 2 years, but I think the investors might not like losing money because of their immoral ways.

I forget, does everyone want to be treated equally? Or do people want to be treated differently?

Haggans prices are much lower than California Fresh and Whole Foods yet customers flock to those stores. Why are people so pissed at Haggans about prices?

Well myself, (Paso) we had a store (Vons) that I was happy with and liked their prices. We don’t have either of the other stores you mentioned but I have been in them in other cities and probably wouldn’t use as regular shopping store.

With Vons gone, I’m left with Albertson’s (they to have high prices), so my shopping choices have gone down. Yes we have Food 4 Less but never been a fan and Smart and Final which isn’t bad but they don’t have all the same items.

So yes not thrilled about Haggens. Hey they can do what they want and I do what I want by not patronizing them because of the above.

Albertsons, Haggen, not much difference. Corporate pigs. Albertsons cut back workers and no longer supports enough staff to support “threes a crowd.” I was in line with 9 carts in front to me last Saturday evening, standing under a big sign boasting if three people are in line we will open another line. The clerk was asked to call someone to open a line. She responded that there wasn’t anyone to call. She was stressed, customers pissed, the isles were blocked. And, the starbucks in Morro Bay Albertsons is the worst! Greed by corporations is growing and they could care less about customer satisfaction. Rite aid also. Stand in line you cattle, they don’t care about you. Shop small, Shop local. Shop small, shop local.

Corporate 101. Make a profit. If the stores are underperforming, changes have to be made to cut expenses until revenues increase. Do those that are developmentally disabled have special protected rights in the cases of overall reduction of staff? If so, they should not. Equal treatment is equal treatment, both when it benefits you or harms you.

Business- 101, take stock of what you have acquired, move slowly, and with care not to upset long term relationships in place from previous Management. You must earn the trust of existing clients (shoppers), don’t ever take it for granted…..

Well, the big shots have not studied much. Shoot first, aim later will kill their purchase of the chains. God, and the Public are not kind to fools.

Seems like the executive management at Haggen’s haven’t yet learned this concept, they are now. Managing 2 dozen stores is a world away from 175. Haggen’s management may be feeling that they swallowed too much in one gulp. They are doing a terrible job of PR right now. Bad enough that they raised prices, then lay off staff who can’t work for a year in many cases & now the layoffs affect many disabled workers, they are losing a lot of goodwill right now.

Spot on sandman. Whoevers brainchild this purchase was is surely in some deep doo.

“The advocacy organization is now attempting to find jobs for the newly unemployed disabled workers. An agreement exists, though, between Haggen and Albertsons and Vons that employees must wait a year before they can leave the Washington chain for work with the other two supermarkets”

Is it really correct that a business can FIRE someone and then prevent them from working for a competitor for a year?? I can understand it if an employee resigns

and wanted to be employed by someone else in same line of work – but being

FIRED and being prevented from working for a competitor seems a little drastic.

Other thoughts – It seems fairly obvious that Haggen ‘bit off a little more than it can chew’

by expanding so quickly and trying to make their stores little boutiques with cutesy

stores and high prices. The people that have been and will be mostly impacted by this

are the ‘former’ employees of Vons and Albertsons that Haggen acquired when than

purchased the stores. I know several that worked at the former Vons store in Paso, and

according to them – lots of promises were made to them by Haggen that are not being held to. And the last time I was in Haggens, I seen only 1 person that I recognized as

being a former Vons employee.

But such is life – it ain ‘t always fair. Haggen management will never admit mistakes

may have been made and will not be held liable (probably many have or will be getting


What is likely to happen? Nothing much. Lots of talk, but not much action. American

people have great ability to talk, talk, talk about things but do very little in terms of real, measureable actions. Examples are the issue of guns, immigration, prisons, gas prices,

race relations, etc, etc, etc,

That is not what your quote says. “An agreement exists, though, between Haggen and Albertsons and Vons that employees must wait a year before they can leave the Washington chain for work with the other two supermarkets.” This is to insure that Haggens is not harmed by employees leaving their employment with Haggan’s to accept employment at Albertsons/Vons creating labor shortages for Haggans. If Haggans chooses to make reductions the employees are free to accept alternative employment, including Albertsons/Vons.